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Hometown Tells Judy Garland Fans to Hit the Bricks

Fans of the late Judy Garland will be able to follow the yellow brick road for real as her hometown, Grand Rapids, Minn., marks her birthday. Residents of the north-central Minnesota town, where Garland was born in 1922 as Frances Gumm, have celebrated the performer’s June 10 birthday for about 15 years. But, this year, the town wants to make the 67th anniversary of her birth special because it coincides with the 50th anniversary of the release of the film “The Wizard of Oz,” in which Garland starred. Organizers say they will construct a yellow brick road as part of a seven-day celebration. Parades of “Oz” characters, performances of the musical, a talent contest and free film festival also are planned. Officials are trying to arrange appearances by Garland’s eldest daughter, Liza Minnelli; Mickey Rooney, who co-starred in many of Garland’s movies; and some of the actors who played Munchkins in “The Wizard of Oz.” Garland was the third daughter of Frank and Ethel Gumm, performers and theater managers who moved from Grand Rapids to California when Judy was 4. Garland died in 1969.

--Danish television and radio offered a birthday tribute of their own. They honored Victor Borge, the Danish-born pianist and comedian who marked his 80th birthday. Borge, a naturalized U.S. citizen, was reported to be spending a quiet birthday with his family at his vacation home in Christiansted, St. Croix, in the former Danish West Indies. Denmark state television scheduled a 90-minute special on Borge, and national radio broadcast one of his performances.

--Attorneys for Bess Myerson’s boyfriend, Carl (Andy) Capasso, asked a federal judge to recommend that he be moved to a halfway house in Manhattan to help him earn money and deal with family problems, including the effect of his recent trial on his children. Capasso, 43, a millionaire contractor, has been in a Lewisburg, Pa., prison since pleading guilty to federal tax evasion charges in January, 1988. He was acquitted on Dec. 22, along with Myerson, 64, a former Miss America who was New York City’s cultural affairs commissioner, of an alleged divorce-fixing scheme. Capasso is to be released on June 26.


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